As an F-1 or J-1 student in the United States, you are responsible for maintaining and understanding your immigration status. This includes reading your immigration documents and asking questions when you have them. International Student Services (ISS)is here to help you.


All new F-1 or J-1 students must check in with ISS before your classes for the term begin. You can start your check-in process by completing the New International Student Check-In . All new students are expected to attend mandatory orientation as part of the check-in process.

Maintain Valid Immigration Documents

Keep your passport valid and begin the process to renew within 6 months of the expiration date. Also know the end date of your I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students) and be sure that you apply for any extensions before this date.

Report Updates

Update all contact information (such as change in address, phone number, or email) within 10 days of the change. Also update ISS with any changes to your status or program of study as this may result in a new I-20 or DS-2019 being printed.

Register Full-Time

Register for a full-time load (as shown below). Anytime you are not enrolled full-time, you must receive approval from ISS before dropping a course or registering for a part-time course load.

  • Undergraduate students: 12 credit hours per semester
  • Graduate students: 9 credit hours per semester

F-1 students cannot count more than 3 credits hours of online coursework towards their full-time enrollment.

J-1 students cannot count any online coursework towards their full-time enrollment.

F-1 and J-1 students cannot be enrolled in only online coursework in their first or last semester.

Do Not Work Illegally

F-1 and J-1 students may work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week. J-1 students must be authorized in writing by ISS before beginning a job.

All off-campus work for both F-1 and J-1 students must be authorized before it begins.

Travel Outside the U.S. With Permission

Travel outside the United States is allowed as long as you have a valid travel signature from ISS. Makes sure you request an updated travel signature before you travel.

Avoid Criminal Activity

Obey all federal, state, and local laws, along with the applicable immigration laws. If you are arrested and charged with a crime, it is recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney/lawyer.